Bean defends salary boost
Bermuda’s gang violence reduction co-ordinator explained yesterday how he negotiated a $33,000 raise after he accepted the job for far less reward than he initially sought.
Leroy Bean said his $125,000 salary was “somewhat of a medium” for the stressful role.
Desmond Crockwell, a community activist, claimed that if the increase was performance-related it amounted to a “slap in the face” for others working tirelessly to tackle the issue of gangs.
Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, announced Mr Bean’s appointment in October 2017 when he said the one-year agreement would pay about $92,000. He revealed on Tuesday the contract was extended for two years in September 2018 when a $125,000 salary was agreed.
Mr Bean said he was approached for the job on a number of occasions, thanks to leading anti-gang group Cartel.
He explained yesterday: “During that time they asked me what did I want for a wage and I gave them a price. In actual fact when they hired me the price they had given me was nowhere near what I had asked for.”
Mr Bean said: “After the year, when they came back to me, they asked me would I stay on, I said yes. They did up another contract for two years and then we talked. We came to somewhat of a [median], where the $125,000 was.”
Mr Bean said he accepted the initial $92,000 salary with a view to renegotiating the pay after 12 months if the Government was satisfied with his work.
He believed the gang violence reduction team was “making inroads” but admitted there was still much to be done.
Mr Bean said: “I think there has been some success and I think certain statistics would even show that.
“I wouldn’t say it’s my success; I believe it’s Bermuda’s success, I believe we as a people come together.”
He said his work involved “crazy” hours and explained: “The job, it’s very unusual. It takes a lot of stress, takes a lot of pressure when you’re around grieving people and people have just been murdered.
“It’s more than just a regular job. Sometimes I go home and I’m falling asleep on my chair — the virtue that’s actually drained on your body when you’re pouring your heart and soul into something.”
Mr Bean added: “It’s not a straightforward job and many people don’t understand that it’s a high-stress job.”
Mr Crockwell said three community activists or organisations “that are in the trenches” could each have benefited from $10,000 instead of the additional money going all to one person.
He added: “One person can’t do what three people can do, especially if those people have the passion and the experience to do it.
“It makes sense to spread the resources as opposed to them putting it into one person, what they’re saying is that Pastor Leroy Bean is solely responsible for the reduction in gang violence.”
He added: “That feels like a slap in the face.”
Mr Crockwell said Mr Bean “does his work well but he’s only one man”.
He claimed: “I believe that in his heart of hearts he would have understood if the resources were shared. He’s a worker that’s very good at what he does but he also understands that there are a lot of other people that do the work as well.”
Information about Mr Bean’s salary came after Mr Caines said last November that his “compensation was not changed” when the contract was extended for two years.
However, details published on the Government’s Official Gazette last week showed he was hired as a “gang consultant” from September 1, 2017 to August 31, 2020 on $334,654.
That total worked out at an average of about $111,551 a year or $121,327 for each of the last two years, if the first was paid at $92,000.
The latest details were provided on Tuesday evening by the national security ministry in a media release.
It said that “based on his education, experience and on par with similar roles within the civil service, in September 2018, Pastor Bean’s contract was renegotiated and renewed for two years at $125,000”.
The increase represented a pay hike of nearly 36 per cent.
The Royal Gazette pursued further details and reasons behind the difference in figures but was told a full response would be provided in the ministry’s budget response, which took place yesterday.
MPs heard then that the gang violence reduction team was aware of its need to boost resources.
Mr Caines told the House of Assembly: “It is intended that within this fiscal year, three part-time staff will be hired to allow the team to have a dedicated pool of outreach workers who can maintain and provide service to meet the Government mandate.”
He said that $60,000 for the hires had been earmarked in the team’s 2019-20 budget.
No further comment was received from the Government after a series of questions from the Gazette yesterday.